September 18th, 2008

Rumours of Asia

I have always had a pair of brass sculptures of Thai dancers. These are young women with high pointed headdresses and sinuously flailing arms. The arms are brassed in mid-motion pushing through the air–on each body, one hand high, one low. When you arrange them with the lowered hands touching, as I always do, they form a wave with their arms. Their faces are impassive, more impassive even than you’d imagine for being formed from metal. Their arrangement is also impassive to me, though you could put them together another way or even just have each on it’s own. But why would you, when you could the wave.

I have no idea how I ended up with these; their presence in my life predates memory. Almost certainly, they were given to me, as I was not shopping for objets d’art, or anything, in nursery school. Of course, a heavy pointed metal objet seems a spectacularly inappropriate gift for a nursery scholar, but it never occured to me to play with them in a way that could result in me or anyone getting hurt. I have always just kept them on shelves or tables, in the hands-touching arrangement. Until:

B (picking one up): This is an unusually weapon-like hat, isn’t it?

Me: Put it down.

B: You could kill some with this, probably. (gesturing Macbeth-like at me) Stab stab.

Me: Put it down put it down.

B: Fine (puts it down the wrong way, so that the wave is flawed)

Me: It goes on the other side of the first one.

B: (moving it) And do you want me to flick the lights on and off 25 times?

Me: With their hands touching!!!

B: That’s a complicated way of saying yes.


B: (nudges them so that they are again perfectly arranged) You’re gonna miss me.

B. is in fact my brother, whose presence in my life also predates memory, and whom I will indeed miss when, tomorrow, he moves to Tokyo. For someone who likes things consistently arranged, it’s hard when a loved one flies off to the antipodes. But there is a bright side to this, of course (in addition to B. having a wonderful year abroad): watch this space in Spring 2009, when Rose-coloured reviews the Tokyo transit system. I can’t wait, can you?

I can barely stop

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So Much Love by Rebecca Rosenblum

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